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Report reopens Vatican Radio antenna controversy

Vatican Radio's forest of antennas north of Rome could be causing leukaemia with the high levels of electromagnetic radiation they emit, a report conducted for a public prosecutor said on Thursday.

The findings, released by the Green party, reopened controversy over the antennas that began two years ago, when reports showed an increased incidence of leukaemia in the nearby town of Cesano.

The antennas, some of which have a 600,000-watt capacity, caused a bitter diplomatic row last year, when former environment minister Willer Bordon threatened to cut off all electricity to the radio transmission centre.

But last February an Italian court threw out charges against the Vatican, ruling the Vatican-owned site was outside the court's jurisdiction under a 1929 treaty, but prosecutor Gianfranco Amendola has continued his inquiry.

The report follows the magistrate's request. It was conducted by Pietro Comba of the National Institute of Health, oncologist Dr. Paolo Crosignani, hematologist Dr. Augusto D'Angiolino, and Dr. Gaetano Licitra, health physicist of the environmental agency of Tuscany.

In 2001, a medical report by the public health agency of Lazio showed an excess of mortality for leukaemia among adults and children living up to 6 kilometres from the Vatican antennas.

Those results were swiftly dismissed by a commission of experts who worked under the health ministers Umberto Veronesi and Girolamo Sirchia.

But the latest report counters the ministerial commission's conclusion.

"That report is totally goes beyond the ethics of a correct evaluation of the data. The considerations over the infantile leukaemia are frankly wrong," say the scientists in their report.

Vatican Radio: I problemi dell'elletrosmog
Willer Bordon: Elettrosmog e Radio Vaticana


14 May 2002